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Do you want to know what work you can and can’t do on a student visa in Canada? This guide explains everything you need to know
When it comes to regulations around working on a student visa in Canada it can be a little confusing. We’ve organised all the facts for you, so you can start earning that extra cash without worrying.
Full-time students at university in Canada are allowed to work on campus for an unlimited number of hours if they have a social insurance number and a valid student permit. You can apply for a social insurance number for free as long as your visa has the following conditions:
If your visa does not currently have these conditions, you can request that Service Canada add these free of charge.
Once you have these conditions organised, you can begin to look for work. Off campus, students are allowed to work up to 20 hours each week once their university programme begins. During university holidays students can increase their working hours up to 40 hours a week.
Student jobs can include:
Students who must complete work experience as part of their university programme are known as co-op students. You must apply for a separate work permit if this is the case for you.
You can apply for a co-op/intern permit if:
It is important to note that students studying English or French as a second language are not eligible for this permit. Students studying preparation courses for a later programme are also not permitted to apply. In these cases, you must apply for a straightforward work permit.
Everything international students need to know about student visas in Canada
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A guide to student bank accounts in Canada
Volunteering can be quite complicated for international students in Canada. Although it is one way to gather work experience, the Canadian government has strict rules.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations website defines work as “an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market”.
This means that if it is a role that has only been offered to save the employer money and would be a paid role for a Canadian resident, it is still considered work and not volunteering.
To ensure a position is volunteering in the eyes of the Canadian government, you can ask the following questions:
The government considers a position as entry into the labour market if it is an activity that a citizen or permanent resident should do or if it engages in business activity in a competitive marketplace.
Students can stay in Canada after graduation and work on a temporary work visa or begin the process to become a permanent resident.
Post-graduation work visas are available if you:
As an international student in Canada, you might need to file an income tax return when working. This depends on your residency status.
Types of residents are:
Your residency status depends on the ties you have made with Canada. You will be considered a resident if you have significant ties to the country such as property, family, a driver’s licence, bank account or health insurance.
Many international students may find that they fall under this category. Canada allows a personal income of CAN$14,398 (£9,472) before tax. Once you exceed this amount, you can check further criteria and confirm which tax form is correct for you using the Income Tax Folio S5-F1-C1, Determining an Individual’s Residence Status.
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